Knight by Inheritance
Chapter 03 – Mind Your Manors...
Hellsing Manor, Day
Xander's long low Rolls Royce pulled up to the front entrance of Hellsing Manor with only a crunch of gravel. He hated the car actually. It was too damn big and he wasn't allowed to drive it himself yet anyway. He needed his license to come through and apparently that may take a while. He'd been given dual nationality on the understanding he'd loose it if he chose not to continue.
He considered at this point that him not continuing was unlikely. He was missing the girls and Giles like crazy but there was obviously a place for him here. A place where he could do good and actually had the power and money to do it.
He was toying with a few plans on how to give Buffy some support as well. Other than just monetary, which was a given as far as he was concerned. He was now stinking rich after all.
The door to his tank, car, opened and he slipped out with a quick thank you to the hired driver. Then walked with all outward appearance of calm towards the foreboding house.
The truth was he wasn't confidant, or calm, he was still wondering how and when he'd mess up. It had been drummed into him by various people over the years that he was a looser, that he failed. Well, he wasn't standing for that anymore. He had a personal mission, a quest if you like. He wanted to wipe out vampire kind from the planet. Now he'd been finding that the vampires he was now hunting were somewhat different, but from the sounds of things they were just as dangerous. Just not in the hell on earth thing, but in the I want to rule the world and eat everything and everyone way. Though there was that demon that Hellsing had sorted out. He'd finally got the files on all that the night before. It had NOT been nice reading. He was though, strangely enough, quite looking forward to meeting this famous Alucard. He wasn't sure if he was right but...
It made sense, in a twisted sort of way... Could it be the Actual vampire?
He was looking forward to finding out. He was also very curious WHY the vampire was working with the Hellsing organization.
Xander stepped through the door and was greeted by Sir Integra Hellsing herself.
"Sir Harris" Integra said, standing before him resplendent as always in her olive green suit. Xander didn't think it did much for her femininity but strangely enough it did things for her figure...
Xander killed that line of thought, he so didn't need an attack of the hormones right then. Despite the fact she was a fox... damn it!
Her long platinum blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders and hauntingly glacial blue eyes peered at him from under long lashes. Xander wondered what made her think she had to dress, name and act like a man just to get by. Was England really that ancient in thinking that it couldn't handle a strong woman otherwise? Hell he was usually surrounded by them, he liked it.
"Sir Harris?" Integra repeated, jarring his thoughts back to the situation.
"Sir Integra, perhaps considering we'll be working together I can ask you to call me Xander?"
Integra lifted an eyebrow and looked at him, "Very well" she said. Xander did notice though that the same offer was not made in return.
Xander smirked a little. Either she really was that cold or she just wasn't used to dealing with people. Well people were a subject Xander excelled in. He decided right then and there that he wanted to find out which she was.
"Shall we begin the tour? I thought perhaps you would like to see your troops training?"
"That sound's great" Xander said with a friendly smile.
Integra just nodded and walked briskly away, expecting Xander to fall in with her. Luckily he did and was just about able to pace her.
She led him through the large house and out the back where there was what could only be described as a military complex.
"Wow, you've managed to get back operational double time." Xander remarked looking around.
"We've had to work very hard." Integra told him, unsure how to take the compliment.
"I'll bet. I can't believe that you didn't have more help though. It's just been you right?"
"Myself or the Hellsing Organization in particular"
"I know you've got your people I meant the organization" Xander said, "I finally got the full file the other night and the files on some of your cases last night... Interesting reading. We've only had to deal with a class five, two and a class one"
"A class one, and who is we?" Integra asked.
"The class 1 was a bit of a cheat really. It was bound to a stone form and could come to life, only its powers were accessible. Which was bad enough really."
"I see" Integra said with a slight amount of shock showing through. "And the other two?"
"The class five was called the Judge he was able to suck the humanity out of people and couldn't be killed by any weapon forged." Xander smirked, "It didn't like the rocket launcher much though" he said with a laugh, "The class two was really nasty. A snake the size of a semi... erh what do you guys call it an articulated truck? Doesn't that mean it can talk?"
Integra covered a smirk by years of practice, "That's articulate. Articulated means in that context 'Provide with a joint'"
"Ahh gotcha" Xander said sagely. Integra suddenly found herself wondering if she'd just had her leg pulled.
"Okay so what've you got, assault course, training area with rooms... a range with targets..." Xander trailed off in a fill in the blanks sort of way.
"Yes the training area is where we're currently running some of your troops. There is an observation deck if you'd like to see it?"
"Sure would" Xander said with a smile. It was a terrible weight to have the lives of men under your rule, but at the same time it felt good to be backed by 150 fully armed men and women. This training they were getting would turn out to be invaluable. Xander was hoping that he would be able to help the Hellsing organization out in the future. To do that his men would need to be up to par and if he had a say in it, then some.
Integra led the way out past the assault course, where several men in heavy packs were running, and over to a set of metal steps. "This way" she said leading the way up the spiral steps.
Xander followed her and came face to face in an olive green clothed ass of beauty. He blinked to himself, paused and followed at a more... polite distance.
Integra turned at the top of the stairs and was slightly surprised to find Xander was lagging behind. She ignored it though and held out a hand to indicate the training area. "The area is separated off into several rooms to simulate house clearance practice. The difficulty we have with most ex-military and the alike is they tend to fire to disarm. We need to train that instinct back out of them here. They have to take the kill shots with ghouls."
"The servants of vampires, they are a sort of half turned vampire. Very strong and hard to kill, it takes massive damage or a good sized head shot. Of course if you're able a shot to the eye will do it as it goes through their brain." Integra told him.
Most of Xander's attention was on the training area though. His troops were moving in to the area. "Yeah I knew that, it's just hard to believe. The only ghouls I used to know about were blood fed humans. Extra strength and it slowed the aging process. Not much else though" he said half his mind on what he was saying. "Still freaky though" he added almost as an after thought.
"No I mean weird, not chipped"
"What the..." Xander said trailing off his eyes snapping into focus. Then he looked up and back down again, "Is that a vampire?" he asked, "In the sunlight?"
"Ah yes." Integra said flatly, "That would be Seras Victoria Childe of Alucard" she said, not saying that she was NOT due to be out training that day. She had a feeling that Alucard had a hand in this. His sudden interest in the young man beside her was more than a bit worrying. It wasn't like him to find humans interesting for anything other than a meal.
"That's a f... sorry really large gun she's got there"
"It's the Harconnen canon. Specially made by my armourer for Seras."
Xander looked at her with an almost hungry expression, "I don't suppose he'd make a custom piece for me?"
"Piece?" then her expression cleared, "Oh I see..." she thought for a moment. It would be good for inter-knight co-operation she supposed. "I don't see why not. We shall visit him before you leave and ask Walter if he would."
Xander smiled at her, "Thank you" he said. "I like swords, but sometimes you just need a gun."
Integra couldn't argue with that. Talking of which, “If you don't mind me asking, why are you wearing a sword. We don't usually have trouble here?"
"I never take it off." Xander said then amended, "Well not NEVER, but not usually."
"Can I see it? This would be the sword her Majesty gave to you?" Integra asked, her curiosity getting the better of her for a moment.
"Yeah sure" Xander said drawing the sword from under his long coat with a slight flourish. He handed it to her with the point off to the left.
A sign of respect but not full trust, just yet, Integra noted wryly.
Bang, Bang, Bang three shot's in quick succession fired out.
Integra turned with an eyebrow raised.
"Can I borrow that?" Xander said to a soldier standing beside him watching the show. No one was sure how it had happened but Xander had managed to get Integra to show of her ability to group shots through a single hole.
The soldier passed over his Berretta 9mm.
Integra watched with that same brow raised. Confidant in her knowledge that she was an amazing shot.
Xander changed the target replaced it on the caddy and let it slide WAY back into the range.
He took aim, a breath waited for the heart beat. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG. The target slid back to show a perfectly formed smiley face.
"I always liked it when Mel Gibson did that" he said mildly.
Integra looked at the sheet with mild annoyance. The damn yank was showing her up. She took the sheet put it back up and let it slide to the back of the range. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG, and so on until she emptied her clip.
She retrieved the target and Xander burst into laughter. The smiley face had been given a perfectly formed neck tie. He looked around and spotted a soldier sporting a desert eagle. "Ohh gimme I want it"
"Here, be careful that's..."
"A Desert Eagle .50AE you could kill an elephant with this thing. Great for vampires, shame Buff never went for guns" Xander put in. He cocked and locked the giant hand gun and let the target slide back again. This time he was more careful in his shots and they rang out with a second between them. He also reloaded three times before allowing it to come back. When it did Integra had a slight smile and the rest of the room was laughing their heads off.
Seras Victoria chose that moment to arrive and looked around, "What's so funny?" she asked her cockney accent as thick as the laughter in the room. Then she caught sight of the target that had been cut out to make a basic suit shape, if you ignored the rounded edges. It even had a neck tie and a smiley face. "'ere who did that?"
"Sir Integra" she suddenly said, noticing that her Boss was there.
"Seras Victoria please meet Sir Harris. He is visiting us today."
"Master did tell me he might." Seras said looking at the young man and feeling her heart beat a little faster. 'Wow' she thought to herself.
Xander checked the load on the huge gun and passed it back to its owner, "Thanks" he said then turned to Seras. 'Cute' he thought to himself, 'Red eyes a bit of a give away, even if I hadn't had noticed her earlier. Damn nice body' he though in a space of a heart beat before holding out his hand, "Miss Victoria" he said with a smile.
She shook his hand as gently as she was able. Suddenly she was feeling peck-ish.
"So vampire hey... How's that working out for you?"
Seras blushed causing Xander some surprise. Apparently there were a LOT of differences between demonic vampires and Nosferatou. He should've known he'd done enough reading with trying to catch up and all; it was just a bit of a shock to see a vampire blush.
"It's... different" Seras said after a moment to compose herself.
"I'll bet" Xander said dryly. "Now... Sir Integra what's next?"
Integra looked at him calmly, wondering why he seemed to be so cold towards the young vampire. He appeared to be a personable enough young man, but then he did seem to truly HATE vampires. She doubted that Seras even noticed though. She looked like she was about ready to bite the poor mans neck. Either she hadn't been eating or she was seriously interested in Xander.
Either way, she would have words with her servant by the end of the day that was sure. A few words punctuated with the explosive spitting of lead at his nether regions. She knew what he was doing, and wasn't amused. This was A Royal Protestant Knight. Not a chess piece on Alucards board of power. He may no longer be a king but sometimes he liked to play at it. All to help her, she had to admit, it was still annoying on occasion though.
Walter C Donez turned when the door to his personal workroom clicked open. Years of training and fighting had instilled various instincts in the aged retainer. Such as the wish to defend himself immediately, at least until a threat was identified or otherwise.
In this case there was no threat, but one day there could well be. So it was always worth making sure one had the drop on the enemy.
"Sir Integra" Walter said by way of greeting, then he noticed the second person to enter the room and nodded to him, "Milord"
Xander winced slightly, "Please for the love of Twinkies call me Xander."
"Of course Milord" Walter said with a slightly amused glint in his eye.
Xander did a slight double take at the butler and then smiled slightly. He was liking this man already; there was an air about him not unlike Giles himself. The air of a man that had been very dangerous in his youth and was, to an extent, still very dangerous
"We're here to ask you to prepare a weapon for Sir Xander" Integra told her retainer and friend.
Walter didn't even raise a brow to that but was slightly surprised nonetheless. His services as armourer weren't widely used outside of the organization. Even then he was usually reserved for a select few. His panache for making hand canons tended to mean that his weapons were better suited for those of impressive strength. Though he had made Integra's personal weapon.
"I see, would Milord have a preference in weaponry?"
"That Desert Eagle felt good."
Walter turned a slightly quizzical look to his master.
"We were just at the range. Sir Xander's skill with a weapon is quite adequate"
Walter nodded to hide a smile. Reserved but high praise from Integra.
Walter sized up the young man before him, noticing his general build. There was quite a bit of power there. Which, of course, made sense. Xander Harris had been fighting Demonic Vampires since he was about 16 or so. It made sense that he had been trained by the very act of fighting. There was something in the young mans stance that told of a readiness of battle. As well as a look in his eye that said he was ready for just about anything. The way he casually carried a sword on his person told stories to his ability to use it.
Though Walter was yet again surprised that the queen had given the young man the blade, let alone a special license to carry it where-ever he pleased. Not even Walter himself could gainsay the queen, even when it came to protecting Integra. Which had taken a fair bit of explaining to the somewhat irate knight the night before.
Walter pulled his errant thoughts back to the task at hand. Building a weapon that would be suitable for such a warrior. A man that fought vampires on a much more personal way than most any of the other knights, with the exception of Integra herself of course.
"You are quite sure that a gun is what you would like Milord"
Xander tapped the blade at his side. "There is only so much you can do with a blade. Most of the time I'd prefer to kill at a distance if I can." the man in question answered calmly.
The look in his eye though told both Walter and Integra some interesting stories were in those simple words.
"Then I think I could make you a weapon that you will find acceptable sir"
"Thanks Walter" Xander said with a smile. "That would be great. Do you have rounds that kill ghouls and vamps?" he asked the armourer.
"We do, would you like me to arrange for our supplier to contact you?" he asked after glancing at his boss and gaining a nod.
"Yeah, actually I kinda need to build an armory from scratch. I'm ashamed to say my erh... predecessor was cheating the queen out of a lot of money and doing god alone knows what with it. Now though I intend to make DAMN sure my guys have everything they may need. When you've done with them of course" he said the last with a charming smile at Integra.
It wasn't totally lost of her, but one would never be able to tell.
Unless like Walter, they had known her for her entire life.
"Now if it's cool with you I'd like to talk to my guy Captain Manners?"
Integra lifted a pale brow but nodded, "He should be at the assault course by now."
"Get your lazy arse... Oh I apologize Sir Integra" Captain Manners said, flushing slightly.
"I can assure you I've heard much worse" Integra commented wryly. "I believe you already know Sir Xander Harris?"
"Oh yeah we go way back" Xander said with a warm smile. His hand stretched out to shake the other mans.
Captain Manners was not what one would expect at first blush. He was quite small, at around 5'5". His body likewise was not bulked out, nor was it too slender. He had close cropped dark brown hair and bright intelligent eyes that seemed half a second away from laughter at all times. He wasn't particularly well spoken being one of the few that had worked from NCO to earn a commission. He was also young for his rank. The army was not stupid though and knew a good thing when they say it. They had seen it in Captain Manners. He was strategically sound minded and had a way with the men under his command. They were all devoted to him and would do just about anything for him. Including going against orders, which had happened during a skirmish with an Iraq border patrol two years previously.
To make a long story less so, they had as a unanimous decision gone back in after dark and recovered their captured commander.
Nothing had been said by the higher ups. Captain Manner's himself however, had first read them the riot act and then taken them all out for a massive party.
Then the day before he'd had the strangest phone call from none other than the monarch of the country herself.
The next thing he knew he and his men was basically been given to the young man in front of him. Needless to say the Captain had been less than pleased.
Then the file had arrived over the secure line fax.
A surprisingly long read later and the Captain had found himself looking forward to meeting the newly minted knight. He'd had his chance shortly afterwards.
The meeting itself had been an eye opener. Xander had quickly gone about reassuring the captain that he wasn't about to take true command. That was the Captains job, they were his men and while Xander took full responsibility he would bow to the Captain's superior experience.
This of course gave the Captain a degree of relief. Then he had found out what he was to be fighting. He'd had a fairly good idea of course, after reading The File, it was fairly obvious. Vampires had cost him half of his men during a nasty op in Russia. He'd never forget the screams or having to go back the next day only to fight his own men, only as vampires. He still awoke screaming some night thanks to that one. Captain James Manners was only too happy to want to take the war to them. Even if the breed wasn't quite the same as the demonic bastards he'd fought.
"Sir!" The Captain said snapping off a perfect salute. "Take ten" he called over to his shoulder to his men. "What can I do for you Milord?"
"Like I said before Captain call me Xander" Xander said with a smile. He had read the man’s file and had liked what he saw. He had a good feeling about the captain and was very happy to have him and his men. He also liked that he had seen to his men before fully engaging with him.
"Of course Milord" the Captain said with dancing eyes.
"You English have a strange sense of humor" said with a similar expression. "So how are they doing Captain?"
The captain took a breath and launched into a quick status report.
"Thanks for the tour Integra" Xander said then winced as she shot him a sharp look. He had thought she'd been thawing slightly. Apparently not enough to use her name though.
"That's quite alright." she said, now back behind her desk. "I trust that all is to your satisfaction with your men."
"Yeah, I hope you don't mind if I check up on them from time to time. I would prefer to make sure they are okay. No offense or anything I just take having their overall command seriously." Xander said uncharacteristically serious.
"I have come to expect no less" Integra said looking him in the eye. "It appears that your file is more accurate than is usual."
Xander rose an eyebrow, "My file."
Integra flipped open a manila folder and tapped it. "Yes it appears that you lead a team made up mostly of high school students against the class two you mentioned previously. I find that interesting."
Xander walked round the desk and looked over her shoulder. Much to her surprise.
"Well what do you know" he mused reaching over to flip the page and then taking in a deep breath. There was a picture of Faith on that page. "Damn" he murmured softly.
"Ahh the Slayer Faith, quite the extraordinary case," Integra noted looking at the girl’s picture and taking in the details below. She was slightly disappointed in the man beside her when she read the details of that night he had saved her and then the world in one foul swoop.
"My worst mistake" Xander said in a low tone.
Integra turned and looked into a pair of pain filled dark eyes. "Indeed" she said carefully.
"I shouldn't have done that. She needed help, I think, not what happened. I may have been hurting and to be honest it's not like she gave me a great deal of choice. That said, there is always a choice in the end and I made the wrong one. If I hadn't done that I may have been able to reach out to her later on. As it was I was just another guy who had taken advantage of her in her eyes at least."
"You disagree?" Integra asked still studying his eyes. Despite the fact that he was well within the range of her rather large personal space, people didn't normally get anywhere near as close as this to her as a general rule.
Xander shrugged slightly, "Not really. Though I think maybe we took advantage of each other. It doesn't excuse me though."
"A rare opinion for one of your years I'd say."
"I hear ya. Most guys though didn't grow up with a female best friend. Since then I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by women as some of my very best friends. I only knew three guys I'd call friend, well two really. One was more of an uneasy ally. One died and the other is more of a father to me than my own."
Integra looked carefully into this unusual young mans eyes and saw nothing but open honesty. He was much different from the other men she knew. They all had an angle in one way or another. Political machinations, Power plays or they were hired by her in one way or another. There were perhaps two men she trusted in her life and one of them barely qualified for the label being what he was. Then again, there were even less women in her life. She was quite jealous of Xander's ability to be able to have friends. That was something she'd never really been able to cultivate in herself. Her life was fairly lonely in point on fact.
Xander reached out and flipped over the page again and frowned. "How the hell did however made this file know THAT?" he asked looking at the page almost angrily.
Integra looked at what he was glaring at and frowned. It was an invasion of privacy in a way, in another it was necessary information. They couldn't very well invite an unknown into the knighthood willy nilly after all. "We have our sources."
"Still" Xander said with a frown, "That's not exactly something I'm proud of and frankly I'm shocked you all seem to know about it. This file so far seems to paint me as some womanizing idiot with a Jones for danger."
"Is that what you read?" she asked with a very slight smile. "That's not what I read"
"Oh, what do you see?"
"I see a brave man willing to fight the creatures of the night despite the fact he's somewhat out gunned. I see a human who has slipped but come out more wise for it and I see what could very well be a leader of men arising." Integra told him looking him in the eye. It wasn't normally her style to say such things, but something made her say them and she meant what she said.
Xander held her eyes for a few moments and then smiled at her, "Thank you" he said simply.
Integra turned back to the file, "No Thanks are necessary I assure you" she said. Her ice-like exterior back in place.
Out of sight in a wall, phased out of sight a pair of red eyes rolled. A white gloved hand lifted. Then as Xander was about to get up he waved said white gloved hand.
Two buttons on Integra's shirt suddenly popped open just as Xander's eyes glanced across at her. The young man blinked, tried not to stare and quickly stood up. "I erh.. urm... I should get going" he said trying like crazy do keep his voice neutral. Trying to be professional or not he was still a heterosexual male that was already attracted to the platinum haired beauty. His minds eye filled with the memory of what he had seen Xander was having a hard time thinking.
'Lace who knew?' he commented mentally.
"Very well, perhaps you would like to receive regular reports on your mens progress." Integra said seemingly oblivious to the state of her shirt. Normally it wouldn't have been a problem but her jacket was once more on the back of her chair.
"That I would thank you. I hope to see you again soon Sir Integra."
"Likewise Sir Harris"
Xander beat a hasty retreat from the room. Integra's eyes narrowed and she waited a few minutes before calmly reaching into her desk draw. Thereupon she pulled out a chromed Magnum .44 and held it up. "Come out you interfering vampire so I can blow off your..."
Alucards laughter filled the air and she snapped off a shot in his general direction before growling to herself and redoing her shirt buttons. "I swear you try anything like this again and I will personally stake you out on a cross!"
More deep laughter filled the air and this time Integra had no particular place to send a bullet.